Free Lessons

Spelling your name & surname in Spanish

Do you know how to spell your nombre (name) or apellido (surname) in Español? You’ll need this skill for a few situations so might as well get some practise in now;

Maybe you want to book a table in a restaurant or book a taxi. It’s important to know how to do this over the phone so that there are no mix ups!

For example if you’re asked for your nombre (name) and it’s not a very common name in the country you are visiting you are likely going to need to spell it out. For example; my name is Kelly and I spell it like this:

kah eh ele ele y-gree-ay-ga

The double “ll” in Spanish is a letter in it’s own right and is pronounced “ehye” or “ehhhhye” in Buenos Aires. However this letter is only used for Spanish words, it doesn’t exist in English words. An example of the “ll” sound in the word “calle” meaning street or “ella” meaning she.

If you’re asked to spell your surname “apellido“? Mine is Thornhill. The “Th” sound doesn’t exist in Spanish. My appellido is pronounced like this:

teh ahcay oh ehre en-nay achay ee ele ele

I could say doble ele instead of ele ele if I wanted to also.

There can be some confusion around the Spanish “i” (pronounced “ee” in Spanish) as it sounds like the English “e” (pronounced “eh” in Spanish) so to combat this we can call the “i” an ee latina.

A very common English appellido is “Smith” this is spelt like this;

essay ehme ee latina teh achay

Watch my Mini Spanish Lesson on YouTube to hear how I spell these names and give you some tips on how to spell yours. Happy practicing!

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